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The effect of variable health insurance deductibles on the demand for physician visits

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  • Martin Schellhorn

    (Institute of Economics, University of Bern, Switzerland and Department of Economics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

Abstract

In order to contain cost in the health care sector, the introduction of consumer incentives in health insurance has been suggested and realized in many countries. The Swiss health system reform of 1996 introduced a choice of deductible for health services in the mandatory basic health insurance. This paper estimates the effect of this choice on physician service utilization. A generalized method of moments (GMM) estimator is applied to take account of the endogeneity of the choice of the deductible in the estimation of the number of physician visits. This paper finds that most of the observed reduction in the number of physician visits among individuals who choose a higher deductible seems to be a result of self-selection of individuals into the respective insurance contracts, and not to induced changes in utilization behaviour. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Schellhorn, 2001. "The effect of variable health insurance deductibles on the demand for physician visits," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(5), pages 441-456.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:10:y:2001:i:5:p:441-456
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.630
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holly, Alberto & Gardiol, Lucien & Domenighetti, Gianfranco & Brigitte Bisig, 1998. "An econometric model of health care utilization and health insurance in Switzerland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 513-522, May.
    2. Windmeijer, F A G & Silva, J M C Santos, 1997. "Endogeneity in Count Data Models: An Application to Demand for Health Care," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 281-294, May-June.
    3. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & van der Burg, Hattem & Christiansen, Terkel & De Graeve, Diana & Duchesne, Inge & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna, 2000. "Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 553-583, September.
    4. A. C. Cameron & P. K. Trivedi & Frank Milne & J. Piggott, 1988. "A Microeconometric Model of the Demand for Health Care and Health Insurance in Australia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 85-106.
    5. Terza, Joseph V., 1998. "Estimating count data models with endogenous switching: Sample selection and endogenous treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 129-154, May.
    6. van Ophem, Hans, 2000. "Modeling Selectivity in Count-Data Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 18(4), pages 503-511, October.
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